All the Shawls

I’m taking a little shawl breather before I start the next round of sweaters!  Finished one for mom, finished one for me and the next one is on the needles already!

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First up, the Corona Shawl, a free crochet pattern from Universal Yarns.  I had fun with this one, despite never really getting  accustomed to the pattern.  Unlike the knitting I do, there were lots of different stitches and the patterning changed nearly every row.  This has definitely given me the confidence to crochet more complicated shawls but I will be looking for charted designs in the future.

I took lots of detail pictures with future crocheters in mind.  In the absence of charts, having Ravelry’s database of photos was incredibly helpful.

The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala.  It’s surprisingly nice for highly affordable acrylic.  The softness is great and the colors are super.  My one complaint though…I wish I could block it.  I’m missing the crispness I could give all these details in a nice, natural wool.  That said, I’m glad it’s crochet and not knit.  I don’t think knit lace would be as forgiving without a blocking.  Ultimately, I think I lucked into this pattern and yarn combo being a winner!  And, as my dentist says, it’s better to be lucky than good!

My second shawl finish is another scrappy, striped Dotted Rays.  Yes, another Dotted Rays.  The first six are not enough.  A 7th was necessary.  I’ll still be saying the same thing when it’s the 10th, the 15th and even the 20th.  I love this pattern.

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It works with any & every yarn.  It’s easily committed to memory.  It’s got about a million options for customization.  It’s easy to wear.  And now I’ve got one for every day of the week!

I wasted no time casting on my next shawl.  Another Stephen West, this time his newly release, Spring Cleaning Shawl.  It’s got all my favorite components, garter stitch, short row wedges and lots of options for yarn customization!

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I’m going fade with this one…starting off with this light color that will eventually fade from the light green with bits of yellow into the blue you see at the i-cord edge.  I’ve got new project excitement at the moment so progress should be quick!  This pattern has modular construction…I think that’ll help it along too.  Fingers crossed because I’m excited about this one! These colors are swoon-worthy!

FO Friday – Instant Classic

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The second in my pair of Dotted Rays is now finished!  This is my sixth Dotted Rays so obviously, I like this pattern.  My most worn project of 2017 was this Dotted Rays…

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I knit many shawls a year, it’s pretty unusual for one to be my favorite for so long.  That prompted me to start a new ‘favorite’.  You can’t guarantee something will become a favorite but I stacked the deck as much as I could.  I picked a pattern I love wearing and knitting equally and I picked all my favorite colors from the stash.  It turns out, setting yourself up for success really works!

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Judging by the number of pictures alone, this has to be a favorite.  I just couldn’t stop.

I’m sure it helped that Golden Gate Park is dressed in gorgeous spring green this week!

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And now, it’s time for the weekend! After being virtually monogamous with the Dotted Rays, I plan on fraternizing with ALL the knits the weekend!  My old pal crochet might even get involved!

Happy Friday!  Hope you’re looking forward to your weekend as well!


 

 

 

 

 

Motivated Monday

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Last week’s lack of knitting mojo has definitely passed.  Turns out a new box of yarn from Mom was all I needed!  I thought the qiviut would be the first on the needles but no, I’m far too susceptible to the siren song of color.  Green and purple is such a classic combo, I couldn’t put it down once I’d started.  Brioche was the clear winner and so, a new Askews Me Shawl was born.

It’s a WestKnit, because WestKnits really are the best knits!  The original is only two colors but I’m definitely planning some stripes.

My only concern, it’s a worsted weight yarn.  The pattern is written for DK so not too much a departure but I’ve got a very stiff fabric.  The brioche keeps it cushy so it’s not a bullet proof fabric.  I’m into drape though.  I’m debating going up a needle size or two (which never happens to me??)

While that debate rages on, I decided another cast on was not only reasonable but necessary.

Bitten by the colorful stripe bug, I started another blanket for my impending nephew.  In knitting his first blanket, I remembered why I don’t like knitting blankets.  PURLING.  Yuck.  I’m down with texture, moss stitch, seed stitch, ribbing, yes!  Long straight rows of purls…NO.

The solution to this problem…Steeking!

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Yup, I cast on a blanket in the round.  I’m going to knit the whole thing.  No purls!  NO PURLS!  and then, I’m going to cut it open and turn the cut ends into fringe!  I’ve never been so excited about fringe!

Speaking of the impending nephew, my sister got her first Mother’s Day package this weekend!  And of course, it wasn’t for her at all.  I’m not sure she realizes her days of getting packages are over.  They’re all for the nephew from now on.

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Baby’s first sweater, a stroller blanket and a little sleeping monster.  I finally got his eyes right!  I suspect he’s already become a cat toy.  Good thing I planned on making a whole slew of monsters!

Mom got a new knit for Mother’s Day too.  The latest Dotted Rays had her name on it from the beginning.  As I washed and blocked it, I couldn’t find the sticky sap spots?  I’m not sure how they went away on their own, but I’m glad they did.

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I’m nearing the end of the other Dotted Rays too.  I should finish it this week…assuming I don’t get distracted from all the other knitting.  I mean, I can’t just leave that qiviut to lay around and feel unloved!  No, I’m highly motivated to get some knitting done!

Happy Monday!  Woo!


 

Back in the SF groove

Took a few days but things are just about back to normal around here.  Re-entry is always harsh after vacation but it took me a few extra days.  It was really nice being in New Mexico where the population density is zero.  Coming back to the crowds of San Francisco has made me cranky.  It’s like I forgot how to suppress the urge to slap people while saying ‘get it together, idiot’.   So, it was a rough weekend but, I’ve got it under control now.  Getting back to the knitting routine was imperative!

I knit in public, on several buses and even managed a few FOs. The purple hat is just a basic beanie with a little garter ridge relief kind of design.  Something for the gift box because invariably when a random birthday arrives, everyone’s favorite color is purple, yes?

I put the sleeves on my nephew’s first sweater.  He’s due in July, so he doesn’t even need them.  They were really just a few rows of formality.  I washed it and got ready to block it.  Definitely didn’t need all the blocking mats for this wee sweater.  It’s so tiny!  They call this size 0-3 months.  If it fits him on day 1, I’ll be amazed!

My current WIP is the other dotted rays.   Of the two, this one is definitely my favorite.  I knew it wouldn’t languish, alone, in a corner, after vacation and it hasn’t.  It’s been growing at a rapid pace since I got back.

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So, with all that progress, it’s definitely time to cast on something new.  Here’s my pile of vacation yarn…

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The first thing I grabbed to wind was the Dream in Color.  I got Jilly & Smooshy both with Cashmere.  Obviously.  With Cashmere is always the answer.

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I wanted to cast on the Local Yarn Shawl from Local Yarn Store Day but I don’t think I’ve got the right colors.  At least not right here.  I’ve totally got the right colors somewhere…I just need to get the yarn out and spread it all around.  Any excuse, right?

Any excuse!!


 

WIP Wednesday

It’s Wednesday and I have progress!  There’s not much of a story here, but that’s kind of a story itself.  It’s my favorite kind of knitting, miles of nothing but knit.  Perfectly relaxing, stress reducing,  stash busting, striped, garter stitch.

 

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AAAAAaaaaaaahhhh.  yes.  I’m loving the dueling Dotted Rays.

They’re keeping pace with each other pretty well.  AND, I’m keeping up with the end weaving.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out.  At this point, each shawl has grown so large that it’s mostly relegated to a large crumpled pile until it comes off the needles, revealing it’s true beauty.  At least that’s the way I’m hoping it goes…

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I’ve made a couple questionable decisions in the pink/red/orange/purple stripes.  It’s completely possible to balance it out down the line though, so I’m putting faith in the process.  I’m not expecting to be unhappy at the end.  I’m sure it’ll work out.  It always does, after all.


 

The Week in Review

 

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has had a good week.  I did.  The gift of time is my favorite thing about unemployment.  I never take that for granted.  What seemed like a lazy week, is much different when I look back at my camera roll.

The weather has been great.  I took lots of walks.
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I went on an excursion to Scrap, the local center for creative re-use.

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I picked up an old wooden picture frame to make a little pin loom.

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Despite my complete lack of skills with a hammer, it’s safe to say…I nailed it!  :)  At least for a little while, then the frame broke under all that tension.  Whoops.

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I got enough out of it to satisfy my urge to weave.  Mostly, it confirmed that I like knitting better.  I’m not giving up my needles for a loom (or a hammer) anytime soon.

Baby’s first sweater and my pair of Dotted Rays have all made progress.

My favorite progress of the week, though, is my log cabin crochet blanket.  Those colors!!

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And now, I get to have a weekend.  It doesn’t get better than that!  I’m so lucky!  Happy Friday, Indeed!


 

 

FO Friday – Connect the Dots

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New hat for the weekend!  Nothing fancy, just a plain stockinette beanie with a little stripe.  Easy Peasy.

The real story of the week is a bout of Castonitis.   With all this finishing lately, I’ve been contemplating new cast ons.  I may have gone a bit overboard once I got started.

First, a little Peanut Warmer for the impending nephew.  It’s so tiny, size 0-3 months.  It’ll be done in no time!

After that, I sorted my stash picking blues, greens and purples for a new Dotted Rays.

Of course, as I sorted all the cool colors out, a pile of warm colors that was just as appealing formed.  And so, Dotted Rays #2 joined the cast on party.

Needless to say, this completely obliterates my strict 6 project limit.  I’m currently at 10 and I’m not ruling out #11 this weekend.

Whoops.

I am imposing one rule, though.  There needs to be, at least, a tiny bit of order.

If I want two scrappy Dotted Rays at once…I have to weave the ends as I go.  So far, so good.  It makes photos nicer and it actually helps with the knitting too…no extraneous tails to get tangled with the working yarn.  Totally practical!

Now let me see what else I can cast on…

Happy Friday!

FO Friday – Dotted Grays

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My Dotted Grays is done!

This shawl flew off the needles!  The pattern is Stephen West’s Dotted Rays, one of my favorites.  I think this is my fourth one (and it won’t be the last).

The yarn is from Gauge Dye Works.  It’s a self striping yarn that employs ‘shawl striping’ which means the stripes are different lengths rather than a classic stripe where the stripes are all the same length.   Check out my recent Hydrogen Shawl to see another example of shawl stripes.

Unfortunately, I thought this was classic stripes when I started knitting, meaning it doesn’t matter which end you start from.  Turns out, it was shawl stripes and I essentially knit it ‘backwards’.   Whatever, I like it this way, especially because it’s different.

I’m not even upset by the lack of color.   I’ve got one more skein from Gauge Dye Works.  It’s called Fade to Yellow.

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I’m not sure what to do with it just yet.  It’s gotta be something I can knit in the dark though.  I need a new movie theater project stat!  Bill Murray and I are going to see Groundhogs Day this afternoon!!  Talk about FriYAY! Woooo!


 

WIP: Dotted Grays

My neighbor went to Vogue Knitting Live in NY and all I got was this awesome ‘Resting Knit Face’ tote signed by Stephen West!!  I have the best neighbor!

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It even matches my latest cast on, a shades of gray Dotted Rays.  This is another skein from Gauge Dye Works.  The base is an 80/20 merino/nylon blend with high twist in colorway, Fade to Black.

Garter stitch is my go-to when I’m leaving the house, so I’ve made lots of progress on this one.  It’s been knit almost entirely on city buses and in dark movie theaters (which makes up for the complete lack of color)!

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I have a feeling I’m going to like this one, despite it’s lack of color.  There’s a first time for everything, right?


 

WestKnits Sunday

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My Dotted Rays with a Speckle Fade is done!  It’s definitely my new favorite thing!

I love the chevron border with it’s high contrast!  The purple yarn is MadTosh EuroSock and it’s parter in striping was a skein of Magpie Fibers MCN.  It’s super soft.  I don’t mind having leftovers from that skein!

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The body is four colors, starting over at the upper right corner, faded together.  Hedgehog Fibers Skinny Single in Boombox!  Western Sky Knits MCN!! and then two skeins of Hedgehog Sock.  I was unimpressed with the Hedgehog Sock.  It was very think and rather splitty.  I can’t imagine knitting actual socks with it.  I’d need quadruple zero needles for that.   No, I think my money is on the Skinny Single in the future.

Like all good shawls though, it’s only exciting until the next one comes off the needles.  With that in mind, I’ve started my next WestKnit.

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I culled at the skinny little scraps and half balls from the stash.  Sometimes I think the only reason I use fresh skeins is to turns them into leftovers.  I really love scrap projects!

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This one is Stephen West’s Spring 2017 MKAL.  I didn’t have time to do it then and I was still bummed about not loving the Building Blocks MKAL in the fall.  This one is called Marled Magic!  Despite kicking off with my least favorite stitch — YO, K2tog mesh, I knew I wanted to knit this shawl when I saw what Stephen did with all those ends on the side.

The tails are all cut at deliberate lengths.  Instead of weaving them all in at the end (nightmare!!) they’ll be braided together down the center of the shawl, into a big tassel off the point.  It’s a clever little treatment.  I can’t wait to try it out.  I’m willing to deal with a tassel for it!

Tomorrow, it’s back to jury duty.  UGH.  At least I’ll have knitting time!